When I think of my great-grandmother, Ma-Maw, I have fond memories of Sunday afternoons sitting on her back porch eating watermelon, snickerdoodles and watching for hummingbirds in the little hummingbird feeders that surrounded her home. While I can’t remember ever tasting her Hummingbird Cake, when I came upon her old handwritten recipe, I couldn’t resist trying to make it….after all, it had all of my favorite ingredients and for a few moments took me back to my childhood. Ma-maw’s recipe called for 1 ½ cups of vegetable oil and a teaspoon of butter flavoring. Something about all that oil and imitation butter flavoring bothered me, so I used a combination of real butter, applesauce and vegetable oil and now I feel better about it. This cake is so delicious that in the three months since I came across the recipe I have made it five times! Her recipe suggested using a bundt pan, but I have made it into cupcakes and now this decadent two-layer.
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 20oz can crushed canned pineapple, undrained
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup applesauce
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted
- 1 cup finely shredded coconut, lightly toasted
Place all ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix by hand until well incorporated.
Generously butter and flour 2 8” cake pans. I like to use parchment paper on the bottom of my cake pans to insure the cakes will pop right out of the pan. Convection Bake in 350 degree oven for 40 minutes if you are using 8” cake pans. For bundt cakes, about 50-55 minutes. For cupcakes, about 22-24 minutes. Let cakes cool to room temperature on a wire rack before icing.
Once cooled, if your cakes look to be uneven, use a large serrated knife, or cake level, to even them out so you have a flat surface, and your layers will lay together nicely. This will ensure a beautiful, level cake.
When icing a double layer cake, you should use approximately 1/3 of your icing as the filling. I always try to add a little extra toward the edges so that it is easier to ice the rest of the cake once the top layer is added. Once you have the cake completely iced, if desired, decorate with lightly toasted coconut. I sprinkled it along the sides and then used a cookie cutter in the shape of a butterfly to add a little extra to the top of the cake.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing
- 1 8oz container cream cheese, room temperature
- ½ cup butter, room temperature
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
Beat cream cheese and butter with a mixer for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing well before adding the next cup. Add vanilla and cinnamon and mix well. Ice cake!
There’s a fabulous little restaurant nestled in the heart of Corona del Mar that has the most delicious cookie I’ve ever tasted…a pecan shortbread cookie with a tart lemon glaze. The only problem with the place is that there is never any parking (the food is so delicious that the place is always packed) and it is such a hassle to park and walk with two little munchkins that won’t dare be still while we stand in line for mommy to get a LEMON cookie! I’ve often thought about getting a job at this place just to find out the recipe, but since my husband says that’s not an option, I had to come up with my own version…and let’s just say I’m very very pleased. The cookies are delicious without the glaze if you, like my children, don’t like LEMON.
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup oatmeal (I prefer old-fashioned, but quick-cooking will work as well)
- 2/3 cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted
- ½ cup shredded coconut, lightly toasted
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar together until light, fluffy and pale yellow in color. Add vanilla, mix well. Add flour and oatmeal until well incorporated; then add pecans and coconut, mixing well. Place cookies on cookie sheet by the teaspoonful about 2 inches apart.
Convection bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, until cookies are just slightly golden along the edges.
If your oven does not have convection bake, bake at 350 degrees for about 13 minutes. Let cookies cool on wire racks. Drizzle with Meyer Lemon Glaze and be careful, they’re likely to cause an addiction.
Meyer Lemon Glaze
- 1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
- 2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon, Meyer lemon zest
Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Drizzle onto cookies.
Blood Orange & Mint Mimosas
For whatever reason when I think of brunch, I think immediately of mimosas. Since blood oranges are in season right now, I thought I'd try muddling them with some fresh mint before topping off with champagne. The drinks made such a pretty color on top of tasting fantastic!
- 8-10 organic blood oranges
- 2/3 cup chopped fresh mint